17 January 2018

Spellbound were commissioned to produce a film for Wiltons restaurant in London, who were renovating their bar area. Established in 1742, Wiltons is one of the oldest restaurants in the world so it was a real pleasure to record one of the subtle developments in its history.

Arriving there early, we needed to get the shots to tell the story before the lunchtime crowd arrived. Wiltons has built up an excellent reputation for tradition and sophistication. Their diners expect to see fresh fish and game not film cameras and lights. So upon our early arrival all was very quiet in the restaurant, not a waiter to be seen. However, this serenity belied the hive of activity in the kitchen below.

Chef in Wiltons Kitchen

As we stepped through the kitchen door it was like being transported into a different time and place. As well as a proud heritage Wiltons can boast one of the finest kitchens you’ll find. An epic culinary collaboration was taking place. No shouting…just a masterful display of team members working purposefully and precisely. Such an environment is a joy to film in. No matter where you point the camera something interesting is happening – a delivery of lobsters, fresh vegetables being cut, the menu of the day being passionately discussed etc. The camera loves to capture energy, both physical and cerebral and a kitchen restaurant delivers both in abundance.

Wiltons Lobster

We could have happily filmed for hours in the kitchen but we needed to get interviews and film the quiet upstairs restaurant before guests arrived. One of the big challenges in making films of this kind is the balance between conveying the personality of an establishment while at the same time not inconveniencing or filming any guests. The irony is that these locations come to life just at the time our filming needs to finish. The way we got around it on this particular occasion, aside from having the footage from the kitchen, was to predominantly film the upstairs in close up. We also featured members of staff during their preparation including Sammy – the champion oyster opener!

Sammy Oyster Opener

Our contributors, Michael Stokes – the house manager, Daniel Kent – the head chef and Philip Hooper – the designer of the new bar, were all very comfortable telling their story which makes any producer’s life much easier.

Overall we want our films to try and be the embodiment of the subject. Wiltons is warm, cosy and inviting but also traditional, sophisticated and discreet. We hope we achieved that balance. For more information on Wiltons please visit www.wiltons.co.uk.

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